Who we worked with
Jobs for Nature
What we did together
Connecting with nature is essential for our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. It allows us to establish social connections, develop a profound sense of responsibility for the environment, and build a sense of community. Despite its significance, people often find it challenging to form a meaningful bond with nature in their daily lives.
Although pockets of people in Aotearoa are using digital platforms or social media to connect communities with nature-based opportunities such as volunteering or community events, these efforts remain severely limited in terms of audience, geographic reach, and activity types. While these tools have proven effective in some situations, there is no centralized national platform to unite these initiatives.
In light of these challenges, the question arises: can a digital tool support communities in their efforts to engage with and safeguard nature?
The team built a prototype of a tool that enables people across the country to find volunteering opportunities, look at it on a map, and connect with the people that are hosting them. It builds community by bringing people together, and empowers them to take action to protect the environment. This tool helps to break down barriers to participation, such as geography or lack of awareness of local opportunities. The prototype was designed to be user-friendly, intuitive, and accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds.
The result was a digital platform that provides a directory of nature-based activities and volunteering opportunities throughout Aotearoa. Users can easily search for activities by location, type, or date and connect with organizers and other volunteers. The platform also includes resources and tips to help users get the most out of their experience and become advocates for environmental protection in their communities.
The GovTech programme has had a significant impact on the team’s ability to understand and build what they needed to support people in connecting with nature. As one team member noted, “the work that we did in Govtech has been really really important for understanding what we really need to work on.” The technical experts involved provided crucial support in creating breakthroughs and overcoming barriers in understanding what the team wanted to build.
The programme also helped the team to open up to a wider range of people and engage with them in a more meaningful way. Through one-on-one interviews, the team was able to build strong relationships with individuals in a short period of time, allowing them to see what other people were doing and get motivational support from others.
Despite the challenges of working with a small team and limited resources, the emotional and technical support provided by the GovTech cohort and programme enabled the team to move from ideas to reality. As they move forward, the team is optimistic about the impact that their tool will have in supporting people to connect with and protect nature, with a focus on increasing biodiversity and meeting the needs of both the Jobs for Nature and NPSIB programmes.